Old School Americana & Nostalgia

Cars

Where is the Batmobile From 1989’s ‘Batman’ Now?

Where is the Batmobile From 1989’s ‘Batman’ Now?

Batman is known for gadgets like the Batarang and grappling hook, but the Batmobile—especially the ’89 version—steals the show.

Director Tim Burton’s two Batman films starring Michael Keaton hold the top spot for many 80s and 90s kids. The two films’ high status owes much to iconic villain turns by Michelle Pfeiffer, Jack Nicholson, and Danny DeVito. However, it doesn’t hurt that it also features a kick-ass Batmobile designed by Burton himself. 

The initial ideas for this design were created by Julian Caldow, guided by the vision of Tim Burton and Anton Furst. Caldow was also responsible for coming up with the appearance of the famous protective “cocoon.” Furst asked Caldow to incorporate jet aircraft elements and war machines to design a car for a darker Batman. The production team drew inspiration from 1930s Salt Flat Racers and 1950s Sting Ray machines, resulting in a tank-like car sculpted by Keith Short.

The Batmobile showcases Gotham City’s Art Deco style with a sleek silhouette hiding a driver’s seat. It also boasts a central jet engine turbine. The ’89 Batmobile, over 20 feet long, combines elements of a Daytona Prototype racer. It features a closed cockpit for up to three passengers, bat-styled fins, fiberglass undulations, air intakes, and ‘steampunk’ metal add-ons for a fast look.

According to a behind-the-scenes featurette, the iconic 1989 Batmobile was constructed on a Chevy Impala chassis. It featured the body taken from a 1970 Corvette. It had a 327-cubic-inch V-8 Chevrolet engine positioned low in the frame. The hood-mounted intake was crafted from Rolls-Royce jet engine parts. Meanwhile, the nosepiece incorporated turbine blades sourced from a British Harrier fighter jet.

The 1989 Batmobile Isn’t Breaking Any Land Speed Records

However, in real life, you’re not catching many bad guys driving this behemoth. Despite its sleek design and prop jet engine looks, the film vehicle could only push to around 35 miles per hour.

In the films, the 1989 Batmobile’s gadgets include a state-of-the-art navigation system, advanced diagnostics, a CD recorder, voice-command recognition, full armor protection, machine guns, and side disc launchers. In addition, it can launch bombs, shoot oil, emit smoke, and fire grappling hooks, allowing quick and agile maneuverability.

Batfans the world over might be wondering if a screen-used Batmobile driven by Keaton still exists. Not only does one survive, but a fan with Bruce Wayne’s deep pockets can own it.

One of the Batmobiles used in Batman Returns is listed for sale at the Classic Auto Mall website. After its appearance in the 1992 film, the car found its way to Six Flags in New Jersey. It served as a prop for the Batman Returns roller coaster until a collector of movie cars purchased it. The starting price? $750,000.